Picasso Landscapes: Out of Bounds debuts February 2023 at The Mint Museum

Picasso Landscapes: Out of Bounds debuts February 2023 at The Mint Museum

The Mint Museum is the first, and only venue on the East Coast, to feature the traveling exhibition that includes many of Picasso’s greatest landscape paintings

For Immediate Release

Charlotte, North Carolina (May 19, 2022) — The Mint Museum is pleased to announce that Picasso Landscapes: Out of Bounds, a major traveling exhibition organized by the American Federation of Arts, will debut at Mint Museum Uptown February 2023. Comprised of approximately 45 paintings spanning Pablo Picasso’s full career, Picasso Landscapes: Out of Bounds is the first traveling exhibition to explore the breadth of the artist’s lifelong innovations in the landscape tradition.

The Mint Museum is the first of only three venues in the United States — and the only venue on the East Coast — to feature this exceptional exhibition filled with works from private collections and international museums together for the first time.

Assembling some of Picasso’s greatest landscape compositions in one traveling exhibition, Picasso Landscapes: Out of Bounds coincides with the 50th anniversary of the artist’s death. The dynamic grouping of works in the exhibition offers visitors an unparalleled window into the artist’s creative process, from his earliest days in art school (1896 when then artist was just 15 years old) to months before his passing in 1973.

“This is the first time these Picasso paintings will be seen together and is the first time an exhibition of this magnitude will be held at The Mint Museum,” says Todd Herman, PhD, president and CEO at The Mint Museum. “We also recognize the enormous opportunity to collaborate with other local arts organizations and artists to take the magic and energy around this exhibition beyond the walls of The Mint Museum.”

Partnering cultural organizations working with the Mint to create a multilayered experience of innovative programming, include the Charlotte Symphony, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, Theater Charlotte, JazzArts Charlotte, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, and Charlotte Ballet.

The museum plans to host free school group tours in conjunction with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, in addition to numerous free community days at the museum.

A special component to the Mint’s iteration of the exhibition is Bearden/Picasso: Rhythms and Reverberations, which examines the impact of Picasso and his artistic influences on Charlotte-born artist Romare Bearden’s work. The works in Bearden/Picasso: Rhythms and Reverberations will be drawn from the Mint’s deep holdings of Bearden’s work, as well as from private collections and selected museum collections.

“The AFA is delighted to organize the first traveling exhibition of Picasso’s engagement with landscape, offering a new perspective on the artist’s oeuvre in this important show that will debut at The Mint Museum,” says Pauline Willis, director and CEO of the American Federation of Arts (AFA). “Picasso Landscapes: Out of Bounds is curated by the brilliant curator and Picasso scholar Laurence Madeline, with whom we are pleased to again collaborate following the great success of the acclaimed AFA traveling exhibition Women Artists in Paris 1850-1900.”

Picasso Landscapes: Out of Bounds at The Mint Museum is presented with the generous support of Bank of America and Duke Energy, and numerous individual contributors.


The Mint Museum
Established in 1936 as North Carolina’s first art museum, The Mint Museum is a leading, innovative cultural institution and museum of international art and design. With two locations — Mint Museum Randolph in the heart of Eastover and Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts — the Mint boasts one of the largest collections in the Southeast and is committed to engaging and inspiring members of the global community.

The American Federation of Arts
The American Federation of Arts is the leader in traveling exhibitions internationally. A nonprofit organization founded in 1909, the AFA is dedicated to enriching the public’s experience and understanding of the visual arts through organizing and touring art exhibitions for presentation in museums around the world, publishing exhibition catalogues featuring important scholarly research, and developing educational programs.

Craft in the Laboratory: The Science of Making Things opening weekend celebration

The Mint Museum celebrates the re-installation of The Mint Museum Craft + Design Collection — with FREE admission and a weekend full of conversations with internationally acclaimed artists and makers

For Immediate Release | Images available here

Charlotte, North Carolina (May 12, 2022) — The Mint Museum is excited to announce the opening weekend of Craft in the Laboratory: The Science of Making Things May 21–22 at Mint Museum Uptown with complimentary admission throughout the weekend. As part of the celebration, highly acclaimed makers and educators Joseph Walsh, Hideo Mabuchi, and Silvia Levenson will present on their design inspirations, processes, and practices.

Examined through the lens of science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics, Craft in the Lab tells the story of how makers and designers use knowledge from the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math in their artistic processes.

From 2 to 3 p.m., Saturday, May 21 internationally acclaimed and Ireland-based maker Joseph Walsh and Stanford University professor and maker Hideo Mabuchi discuss how science, technology, engineering, and math are used in their design processes, followed by an artists reception. From 2-3 p.m. Sunday, May 22, renowned international glass artist Silvia Levenson highlights her use of glass and printing techniques to reflect tensions in daily life, domestic violence, discrimination, and refugee issues. These conversations are being presented in partnership with Müller Corporation and the Craft & Trade Academy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing trades and craft in Charlotte.

The installation, which officially opened February 12, 2022, represents highlights from more than 3,000 works in The Mint Museum’s world-renowned collections of regional, national, international handmade glass, wood, jewelry and metal, fiber ceramic, and design objects. Presented by Müller Corporation, Craft in the Lab also celebrates the reinstallation of The Mint’s highly acclaimed Craft + Design galleries — the first since its opening in 2010 at Mint Museum Uptown.

Co-curated by the Mint’s Senior Curator of Craft, Design, and Fashion Annie Carlano and Assistant Curator for Craft, Design, and Fashion Rebecca Elliot, the installation includes 100 objects organized by material and subject throughout the galleries, touchable material panels, and videos of makers at work in their studios.

“The reinstallation of the Craft + Design galleries allow us the opportunity to bring new works out on view and to interpret the collection through new pairings and themes,” says Todd Herman, president and CEO at The Mint Museum. “Craft in the Laboratory examines how investigation, experimentation, and critical thinking are common to both science and art, and the correlation of art with science, technology, engineering, and math that effectively changing STEM to STEAM concepts.”

The installation is accompanied by an important and timely catalogue on the topic, with contributions by several scholars and a lead essay by Elliot. The fully illustrated catalogue of the same name, published by Dan Giles Ltd., also includes contributions from museum staff, and guest essayists.

Craft in the Laboratory is the first publication in over 20 years to discuss The Mint Museum’s Craft and Design collection in depth,” Elliot says. The book is available for purchase at The Mint Museum Store or at store.mintmuseum.org.

Craft in the Laboratory: The Science of Making Things is generously presented by Müller Corporation. Generous individual support provided by Beth and Drew Quartapella, Mary Anne (M.A.) Rogers, Ann and Michael Tarwater, and Rocky and Curtis Trenkelbach. Additional support provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. The catalogue is supported by the John and Robyn Horn Foundation.

The Mint Museum
Established in 1936 as North Carolina’s first art museum, The Mint Museum is a leading, innovative cultural institution and museum of international art and design. With two locations — Mint Museum Randolph in the heart of Eastover and Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts — the Mint boasts one of the largest collections in the Southeast and is committed to engaging and inspiring members of the global community.

Müller Corporation
Founded in Germany, and family owned and operated, Müller provides commercial surface installation, and cleaning and maintenance services to the solar, hospitality, automotive, food and beverage, and other industries. European standards and in-house trained craftsmen ensure superior results and unmatched client service. To learn more, visit mullercorporation.com.

Craft & Trade Academy
Founded in 2019, the training programs and apprenticeships are based on the international recognized German model. In order to develop apprentices into quality craftsmen, the Academy runs classroom and workshop training, as well as on-the-job training recognized by the Department of Labor. The Craft & Trade Academy is a public 501(c)3 nonprofit higher education institution committed to providing paths and expanding skills within the construction industry. To learn more, visit craftandtradeacademy.org.

Clayton Sealey, senior director of marketing and communications
clayton.sealey@mintmuseum.org | 704.534.0186 (c)

Michele Huggins, associate director of marketing and communications
michele.huggins@mintmuseum.org | 704.564.0826 (c)

Staff spotlight: Rebecca Elliot

Rebecca Elliot, assistant curator of craft, design, and fashion.

‘Art can be a source of joy for people, and I like to make those experiences happen’

Rebecca Elliot is one of the creative minds behind the new exhibition Craft in the Laboratory: The Science of Making Things and lead author of the catalogue by the same name.


Rebecca Elliot is the assistant curator of Craft, Design, and Fashion at The Mint Museum. Her journey with art has taken her around the globe, from her student days studying abroad in London and frequenting the British Museum, to her jobs at the Cranbrook Art Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and finally to the Mint in 2012, where she’s currently the assistant curator of craft, design and fashion. Here, Elliot shares a glimpse into her life inside the museum, from the glamorous (handling 18th-century men’s suits and thrifting with iconic fashion designer Anna Sui) to the decidedly unglamorous (copy editing and emails). — As told to Caroline Portillo. Lightly edited for brevity and clarity.

I grew up in central Ohio in a town called Delaware, Ohio, about 30 or 40 miles north of Columbus. I loved to read fiction and liked writing. I loved art, especially drawing. My sister and I — she’s three years older than me — would have coloring contests. I even tried to design clothes. I would play with my Barbies and have them do fashion shows. For me, it was more about Barbie having a job, a career, and wearing stylish outfits.

For undergrad, I went to Smith College, a women’s college in western Massachusetts. I took art history during my sophomore year, and then I spent my junior year studying abroad at University College London, where I took a lot of art history classes. UCL was close to the British Museum and I would often go after school. In London, I also visited the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and the Tate Gallery. It was really cool actually seeing the scale of the paintings and what the texture looked like, knowing what it felt like to stand in front of it, and noticing what other people did when they were there. That’s when I first started thinking about working with museums. The interface between the art and the public was interesting to me.

Here’s a snapshot of a recent day in my life. First, I helped Annie [Carlano, the Mint’s senior curator for craft, design, and fashion] lay out the jackets from two 18th-century gentlemen’s suits for a Zoom call with a curator from the V&A in London. Because I’m the copyeditor for all the Mint’s exhibition texts, my afternoon was spent answering emails and reviewing exhibition label proofs. I spent the evening on one of my hobbies: ushering for a show at Actor’s Theater. I enjoy theater, and ushering is a great way to help out and see a show for free.

I love thrifting and actually got to join fashion icon Anna Sui on a thrifting expedition. Anna was in Charlotte in November last year for the opening of The World of Anna Sui at Mint Museum Randolph. After lunch, we ventured to Sleepy Poet Antique Mall. I have admired Anna Sui’s style ever since her clothes started appearing in my favorite ’90s teen magazine, Sassy. I was thrilled when I got to join her entourage and go thrifting in Charlotte. I walked around with Anna and Vogue’s Senior Fashion News Editor Steff Yotka, observing which items they gravitated to and occasionally commenting about things that reminded me of Anna’s style. I was with them as Anna found and inspected a tablecloth — the three of us unfolded it together — and decided it was worth the $20 price. It’s fun to know that I was there when she found a small souvenir to take back and enjoy in her home.

Speaking of Sleepy Poet, I made a point to go there just before they moved out of their old location, knowing there would be bargains. Sure enough, I found a Heywood-Wakefield wood headboard and footboard, possibly mid-century modern, for $25. Whenever I’m thrifting or antiquing, I look for interesting mid-century modern items. I like old stuff, decorative stuff, fashion, and art.

When I’m visiting a museum, I nerd out. I look at the objects and the labels — how are they written? Would I do it the same way? I look at what objects are next to each other, how they play off each other. I look at what’s in the room, how the wall colors are, the pathway.

I love working at a museum because museums give people so many different kinds of experiences. Art can be a source of joy for people, and I like to make those experiences happen. Art can also be something that makes people uncomfortable, that makes them question and think about things they may not have before. We are facing many difficult issues, everything from the environment to social justice to politics. The work I do matters in those areas. We’re not trying to be political, but we are trying to make society better.

‘Coveted Couture’ Gala 2022 Auction Items

2022 Coveted Couture Gala Auction Items


$15,000 Starting Bid

  • One complimentary year of Club Membership and ability to book anywhere within Inspirato’s luxury portfolio of exclusive vacation homes, resort and hotel partners, and one-of-a-kind experiences.
  • Includes a Complimentary vacation from Inspirato’s Bonus Trip List for a 3–4-night stay at your choice of many luxury destinations. Airfare not included. After you have enjoyed your complimentary vacation, travel as little or as much as you like, paying nightly rates as you go. Amenities include personalized trip planning, daily housekeeping, and dedicated on-site concierge services during your stay. Membership benefits will begin on Saturday, April 30, 2022.

Generously donated by Ann and Michael Tarwater


$10,000 Starting Bid

  • Jimmie Johnson Racing Package includes four tickets to a 2022 IndyCar Series race or a IMSA Endurance Cup race (excludes the Indy 500). VIP access to the paddock, pit road, and meet-and-greet with seven-time NASCAR champion and current IndyCar Series driver Jimmie Johnson. Enjoy a high-speed ride in an IndyCar Experience race car (depending on racetrack and availability) and an autographed gift. Generously donated by Chandra and Jimmie Johnson.
  • Indianapolis 500 Package: 2 grandstand tickets, credentials for garage area, and gift bag.

Generously donated by PNC Bank.


$1,500 Starting Bid

  • Butterfly Swarm, 2021 — 12-by-12 inch, mixed media
  • Byzantine Purple Butterfly Tree Variation, 2020 – 12-by-12 inch, mixed media

Generously donated by Toshkova Fine Art Gallery + Advisor.


$500 Starting Bid

  • A 3-hour closet edit with Kristin Heinrich, a Charlotte-based professional fashion stylist for women and men.
  • Includes assessing wardrobe dilemmas and style goals, editing, organizing, and re-styling existing clothing and accessories, and de-cluttering by determining what is dated, unflattering or worn out. She will also arrange pulled together looks for all occasions mingling existing items with new purchases to make getting dressed fun!

Generously donated by Kristin Heinrich.


$300 Starting Bid

  • Autographed Anna Sui collector’s item Boho Barbie to commemorate The Mint Museum’s 2022 exhibition The World of Anna Sui, presented by PNC Bank.

Generously donated by Anna Sui.




  • Trip for two to Barcelona and Paris in June 2023 with Todd A. Herman, PhD., Mint President & CEO. Enjoy exclusive access to Picasso museums and private collections. Including luxury hotel accommodations (excludes airfare).
  •  Individual sponsorship recognition for Picasso Landscapes: Out of Bounds.
  • Sapphire Circle Crown Society benefits and recognition for one year, including an invitation to the exclusive Diamond Circle Dinner.
  • Named brick on Mint Museum Randolph’s front façade terrace.



  • Cocktails & a sit-down dinner for 10 with Todd A. Herman, PhD in Mint Museum Uptown’s Craft + Design galleries
  • Includes curator-lead tour of your choice
  • Diamond Circle Crown Society benefits and recognition for one year, including an invitation to the exclusive Diamond Circle Dinner.
  • Named brick on Mint Museum Randolph’s front façade terrace.



  • Curator-led tour and reception with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres for 25
  • Diamond Circle Crown Society benefits and recognition for one year, including an invitation to the exclusive Diamond Circle Dinner.
  • Named brick on Mint Museum Randolph’s front façade terrace.



  • Priority invitation to all international and domestic travel opportunities with The Mint Museum.
  • Platinum Plus Circle Crown Society benefits and recognition for one year.
  • Named brick on Mint Museum Randolph’s front façade terrace.


  • Support the Mint’s DEIA initiatives including underwriting internships for college students.
  • Platinum Circle Crown Society benefits and recognition for one year.
  • Named brick on Mint Museum Randolph’s front façade terrace.



  • Private tour for up to 10 people for the exhibition or collection of your choice
  • Gold Circle Crown Society benefits and recognition for one year.
  • Named brick on Mint Museum Randolph’s front façade terrace.



  • Support Summer Crafts on the Lawn by contributing towards teaching instructors and art materials as well as enhanced seating opportunities on Mint Museum Randolph’s grounds.
  • Silver Circle Crown Society benefits and recognition.



  • Support museum outreach by helping to provide materials for 150 free Mini Art Kits.
  • Mint Champion membership benefits and recognition.



  • Underwrite costs of instructor fees, demonstrating artist honoraria, and materials for Wild Wednesday family nights at Mint Museum Randolph.
  • Mint Supporter membership benefits and recognition.

Charlotte SHOUT at The Mint Museum

5 things to shout about at The Mint Museum

While uptown Charlotte is alive with events during Charlotte SHOUT, there is also a lot to shout about at The Mint Museum. Mark your calendar for these don’t-miss happenings.


Wednesday Night Live: Rothko Becoming Rothko

April 13, 5–9 PM, 6:30 PM
Mint Museum Uptown

To celebrate the two Rothko paintings on view at Mint Museum Uptown, Harry Cooper, senior curator and head of modern and contemporary art at the National Gallery of Art, presents a lecture about the life and works of Mark Rothko as part of the Wednesday Night Live Series presented by Bank of America. Enjoy free admission and a cash bar.

Dance it out at Mint 2 Move

April 14, 7-11 PM
Mint Museum Uptown
$9 members; $12 nonmembers with $1 off before 8 PM

Feel the rhythm, dance, laugh, and enjoy sizzling salsa, cha cha, bachata, line dancing, live musicians, and a live DJ playing Latin rhythms and Afro-beats, plus free dance lessons, a cash bar, complimentary party favors, and live painting at Mint 2 Move. Museum galleries open until 9 PM.



Coined in the South: 2022

See works by more than 40 artists, all hailing from the Southeast. An array of mediums, some less conventional than others, make up the collective body of work that converges to become a mellifluent symphony of styles, perspectives, and approaches in the exhibition. On view: Level 4 Brand Galleries at Mint Museum Uptown.



Craft in the Laboratory: The Science of Making Things

Craft in the Laboratory: The Science of Making Things is the first project of its kind in the Southeast to examine how artists and scientists think and work alike, and how designers of all types use science, technology, engineering, and mathematics in their making. It also celebrates the first re-installation of the Mint’s Craft + Design Collection in more than 10 years. Organized by medium, more than 100 objects from the Mint’s permanent collection are featured. On view: Level 3 Craft + Design galleries at Mint Museum Uptown.



www.theplaidpenguin.com www.lunahzon.com

Have your cake and eat it too at Mariposa at the Mint

Stop by Mariposa at Mint Museum Uptown for dessert, a cocktail, or to share a plate before or after visiting the museum.

And of course, be sure to take a turn on the Impulse illuminated seesaws on Levine Avenue of the Arts, all part of Charlotte SHOUT!


‘Foragers’ short film wins Emmy

“Foragers” short film celebrating collaboration between The Mint Museum and Charlotte Symphony wins an Emmy

The Mint Museum is thrilled to share that the short film “Foragers,” a unique composition of visual and performing art, won an Emmy in the competitive Arts and Entertainment category at the Nashville/Southeast Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Emmy Awards.

Commissioned by Wells Fargo Private Bank, The Mint Museum partnered with Charlotte Symphony to create the short film that unites visual and performing arts and celebrates the power of women artists.

The film opens with Natalie Frazier Allen, chair of The Mint Museum’s board of trustees, discussing the collaboration of artists while scenes of the installation of Foragers flash on the screen. Foragers, also presented by Wells Fargo Private Bank, spans four stories, 96 windows and 3,720 square feet, and features women in roles traditionally associated with men.

Following the introduction, artist Summer Wheat, who created Foragers, explains her inspiration for the work and the power of the female figures represented. At the crux of the film are duets played by Charlotte Symphony musicians Jenny Topilow, Alaina Rea, Andrea Markle, and Andrea Mumm Trammell in front of the monumental work at Mint Museum Uptown.

In the soaring open space, film producers Kelso Communications and Priceless Miscellaneous had the freedom to roam up, down, and around the musicians as they performed their contemporary classical pieces, creating a one-of-a-kind virtual event.

The Emmy was awarded Saturday, February 26, 2022 during the Nashville/Southeast Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences virtual Emmy Awards ceremony.

Wednesday Night Live: QC GarMINT District Program

Wednesday Night Live Presents 

The QC GarMINT District 

Wednesday, March 2, 2022
Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts

Welcome to the QC GarMINT District, part of the Wednesday Night Live event series, presented by Bank of America. Tonight’s event highlights the Mint’s recognition of fashion designers’ work as art, and is a prelude to the December 2022 exhibition and catalogue Fashion Reimagined that celebrates 50 years of the Mint’s fashion collection. It also links Charlotte designers to the celebration of world culture and street fashion on view in The World of Anna Sui at Mint Museum Randolph through May 1.  

5:30-9 PM

Sounds by DJ Dammit Wesley and cash bar
in Robert Haywood Morrison Atrium 

Pop-up market in Level 5 expansion space
and Mint Museum Store 

7-8 PM

The QC GarMINT District runway fashion show
in Robert Haywood Morrison Atrium 


TARA DAVIS is the founder of Flow by Tara Davis. Her designs are created with lifestyles of modern, eclectic women on her radar. Inspirations of architect and modern art transform her concepts into chic and sophisticated apparel. Through the aesthetic of style lines, color, and comfortable fabrics, Davis has defined the art of bold simplicity. The foundation of Flow by Tara Davis started with signature dresses and custom designs, evolving into desk-to-dinner styles, including separates, leather belts, and handbags along with her newest design venture in home décor. @flowbytaradavis

MEGAN ILENE is a fiber artist who makes clothes and created the zero- waste, biodegradable clothing brand Megan-Ilene. All materials used are completely biodegradable and many are organic (no pesticides are used to facilitate growing or harvesting). Dyes used are either natural or minimal- impact synthetic with a focus on low-immersion techniques to prevent water waste and are safe for city water reclamation. Patterns are either designed to prevent textile off-fall or any fiber waste is reconfigured, reused, or revitalized creating a closed loop, zero-waste system. Silhouettes are forgiving and functional, and are meant for myriad of body types, shapes, and genders. All items are made in North Carolina and produced by entities receiving a fair, livable wage. @megan.ilene

GORDON HOLLIDAY uses remnant textile and fibers to construct sustainable garments that tell stories about culture, history, and identity in the fashion industry. A Brooklyn Collective Artist in Residence, Holliday received his bachelor’s degree in fine arts with a concentration in photography and a minor in retail studies at UNC Greensboro. He currently is featured in the Waste Management Design Challenge and was published in “Forbes” for the work he has committed in the community. Holliday is an up-cycle designer, utilizing donated fabric/materials, remnant scraps, previously owned items, or thrifted clothing into new garments. RENEW REWORK ROOLĒ is a brand created by Holliday that documents how reconstructed garments reach their final form through up-cycling. His latest project, the Yasuke Collection ROOLE F/W 21, details the story about the first African samurai. Inspired by Japanese quilting techniques (Sashiko and Boro) 10 quilted kimonos were constructed out of donated and leftover materials. @roole.co

BREHON WILLIAMS is a native of Chesapeake, Virginia who currently resides in Charlotte. He graduated from The Art Institute with a bachelor’s degree and is currently working on a Master of Science degree. Initially a womenswear-only designer, Williams has expanded his portfolio to now include menswear. His bold, innovative, and forward-thinking aesthetic has allotted him the opportunity to participate in numerous shows across the United States. The award-winning designer has won numerous design competitions and has been featured in national and international publications, including Veer, New Pittsburgh Courier, Ink Magazine, and The Virginian Pilot.

GEGE GILZENE is the creative designer, lead designer, and owner of Gege J. Gilzene, LLC, a luxury women’s line for every event and a man’s casual, yet upscale, label designed and produced in Atlanta. His designer clothing line is composed of jaw-dropping statement pieces, and wardrobe staples with a hint of distinction. The collection’s masterful use of colors and silhouette, makes the G-three women and men the centerpiece of every event and stand out in a crowd. Every garment is carefully designed and crafted to exude the joie de vivre (to express a cheerful enjoyment of life, an exultation of spirit) and sexiness, while maintaining character, and class. gegegilzene.com 


The QC GarMINT District is coordinated in partnership with Davita Galloway, co-owner of DUPP&SWATT, and Charlotte-based stylist Jennifer Michelle, owner of J Model Executives. Charlotte influencer Ohavia Phillips will emcee the event, music provided by DJ Dammit Wesley, plus an additional performance by B&C Ballroom, and cash bar. Admission is free, but seating is first come, first served. 

Works by artist My Loan Dinh that explore the human condition

In My Loan Dinh’s series “(Re)constructing the space in-between,” objects, covered in eggshells, appear fragile; but they are strong — strong enough to break glass. “I reach for these tools not only to break barriers, but also to build, forge, and construct new paths towards freedom and equality. Many things, like stones and bullets, can shatter glass. I am here to build,” Dinh says.

‘Broken, but in one piece’

Charlotte artist MyLoan Dinh explores the human condition – and the search for home

By Page Leggett

MyLoan (pronounced “mee-LAHN”) Dinh has been working with an unusually delicate medium: eggshells.

The Vietnamese-American artist, who splits her time between Charlotte and Berlin, uses them to encase objects — passports, hammers, boxing gloves. “With boxing gloves, you think of fighting,” she says. “I love the idea of pairing things that are complete opposites. There’s a tension there — a deeper meaning that starts a conversation.”

People might see the eggshell mosaics and think of the destructiveness of violence or the fragility of life. But for life to begin, the egg has to be open, to be broken, Dinh says. And brokenness is part of being human.

“I like creating something whole out of fragments,” she continues. “I like this idea that even though we might be broken, we’re in one piece. We’re going to be OK.”

The MInt Museum_MyLoan Dinh
MyLoan Dinh, United States (born in Vietnam), 1972– . “Off White,” 2019. Boxing gloves, eggshells, acrylic. Museum purchase made possible by the Charles W. Beam Endowment Fund.

From coop to kitchen to studio

Working with eggshells is tedious and time-consuming. Dinh starts by procuring eggs. She has to boil the eggs, crack and peel them. Then, she methodically places each tiny piece onto the object with an adhesive. She uses a stick pin or a needle; her fingers are too big for the job. Once the entire object is covered, she fills in with even tinier shell shards. She doesn’t want too much of a gap between fragments.

Each object gets covered in five or six protective layers. Something fragile has been made durable.

Some of the “eggshell art” was featured in Dinh’s installation for Constellation CLT — an exhibition series that spotlights local artists — this spring and summer at Mint Museum Uptown.

“I think it’s wonderful that museums are starting to look for artists in their backyard,” Dinh says. “There’s a lot of talent here. And why not expose the community to those artists? It’s wonderful that part of the community can now see themselves in these spaces.”

The part of the community she’s referring to: Asian-Americans. “When I was growing up, I couldn’t see myself in a museum setting because I didn’t have any role models,” she says. “I couldn’t name a single Asian artist. I saw some Asian art, but it was more like artifacts. So, this Constellations program is really amazing.”

‘A place we can call home’

She and her family were on one of the last ships out of Saigon in 1975. Dinh was 4. She has no memory of her homeland but still feels connected to her culture.

Her story is deeply personal, but there’s a universality to it. “Everyone deserves safety,” she says. “We all deserve the same basic human rights, the opportunity to live in dignity and to somehow find a place we can call home.”

Finding her way to safety was harrowing. For six days, they were forbidden to dock because the ships belonged to the now-defunct South Vietnamese government. “We were stateless,” she says.

The U.S.S. Kirk was the first, and then dozens of former South Vietnamese Navy ships, cargo and fishing boats lowered the Vietnamese flag and raised the American one. That was just the beginning.

Dinh’s family went to three different U.S. refugee camps before a Lutheran church in Boone agreed to sponsor them. “We’re still in touch with the pastor and his wife,” Dinh says. “At the time, there was this — not really, anti-Asian hate — but fear. People were afraid for different reasons: Would we be able to adjust? Were we Communists? Half the congregation wasn’t sure should they take us in. The minister told them, ‘As people of God, we have to.’”

They came to Charlotte because there was a bigger Vietnamese population here and it’s a bigger city. Dinh’s parents wanted to find their community.

Dinh herself has found a large creative community here. She and her husband — Till Schmidt-Rempler, a former dancer and choreographer — frequently host musicians, poets, storytellers and dancers in the 1935 log cabin that’s home to the couple and their teenage daughter. (Their son is working toward a PhD in art history in London.)

Evolution of an artist

Dinh’s work has evolved a lot since she first picked up a paintbrush to create what she calls “representational, figurative work.” It didn’t take long for her to expand her subject matter and media; she experiments to stave off boredom. In recent years, she’s been diving into storytelling.

“I began revisiting stories about what my family faced when I was growing up,” she says. “Much of that stuff, you just push away. You focus on your survival. You don’t want to bring it up because you think: ‘I’m resilient, I need to move on.’ But I felt it was time to pull it out slowly because of this shift in America, this racial reckoning.”

She doesn’t consider herself a political artist, but rather an artist concerned with social justice.

She hopes viewers see that concern in her work. “I think it’s good to let viewers enjoy the pieces for what they are, but I also like the idea of them reading my artist’s statement to understand why I made the piece. My message is that we need to find a way to share space with each other.”

‘My daughter ate it’

Dinh doesn’t always use food in her art — although she has coated everyday objects in candy conversation hearts — but she was inspired to create an installation last year using a ubiquitous Asian dessert.

“I created a fortune cookie installation the day after six Asian women were murdered [in Atlanta],” she says. “I just made it, held it in my hand and photographed it for social media. And, when Jen [Sudul Edwards] said she wanted to show it, I had to tell her: It was a real fortune cookie, and my daughter ate it. But I can get more.”

There are six fortune cookies in that little installation, she says, one for each of the six women murdered. The fortunes have numbers on them, and they are real telephone numbers to an actual hotline, Dinh says.

With her eggshell art, Dinh is a purist. She leaves the shells the colors nature intended. But she wanted dark brown eggs for several pieces — and went searching.

“There’s a chocolate brown egg that comes from a fancy French chicken called the Marans chicken, she says. “I joined a Facebook group of people who raise chickens and asked if anybody had Marans chickens. They were so responsive; I’ve been getting eggshells in the mail. Chicken people are really good people.

“You never know where you’ll find your community. And community is really another word for ‘home’.”

Page Leggett’s writing appears regularly in The Charlotte Observer, Business North Carolina and SouthPark magazine. Besides writing, her other great passions are travel and art collecting. The first art lessons she took were at Mint Museum Randolph.

This story previously published in the Winter 2021 Inspired member magazine.

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  

‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?”

By Rubie Britt-Height, director of community relations at The Mint Museum

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1963) was a major American icon whose life, though cut short far too soon, profoundly impacted the state of our country in the 1950s, 1960s, and today. He was an American clergyman, activist, and leader in the American Civil Rights Movement. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is a federal holiday that marks the birth of this profoundly courageous leader who addressed the challenges existing in the United States relative to poverty, racism, and war.  

The Mint observes the official Martin Luther King Jr. holiday throughout the month of January with goals ongoing throughout the year to invoke dialogue and transformative programming, exhibitions, and equity for diverse artists, vendors, and staff. The museum is committed to its mission, vision, and strategic plan, of which diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) are a part.  

Throughout 2022, the Mint will provide members and guests opportunities to view and have dialogue about meaningful works of art, attend performing arts programming, read historical nuggets about artists of color, and recount through socially conscious works of art the ongoing challenges identified by Dr. King’s speeches, writings, and sermons that continue to illuminate “the dream still deferred” in many ways.  

Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech spoke metaphorically and strategically to an environment that blighted African Americans, with the hope of a transformed country of equity, equality, justice, and fairness. 

The Jim Crow Museum notes that “the civil rights movement reached its peak when 250,000 blacks and whites gathered at the Lincoln Memorial for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which included the demand for passage of meaningful civil rights laws when Dr. King, Jr. delivered his famous speech.”  Among those words, throughout his ministry are many other notable quotes that raise our consciousness and speak to courage, community, and commitment to a better America for all. 

Here are just a few of his thought-provoking and enlightened perspectives as one influenced by his Christian faith, Ghandi’s non-violence philosophy, and his commitment to balance the scale of humanity in America: 

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” 

“A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.” 

“Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.” 

“Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but it comes through continuous struggle.” 

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” 

“The time is always right to do what is right.” 

“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” 

We invite you view this curator video featuring Senior Curator of American art Jonathan Stuhlman, PhD, about the painting Selma by artist Barbra Pennington that focuses on the events that unfolded 55 years ago in Selma, Alabama.